Healthcare Ethics and End-of-life Care
Both nationally and internationally, it is recognised that individuals will require support at end of life, across the life span and will avail of a wide range of supports and services, as will their families. It is also recognised that ethical challenges can arise in clinical practice, especially, in relation to the treatment and care of dying patients and their families.
The Health Care Ethics and End-of-Life Care research team combines education and research to improve the quality of end-of-life care provided to individuals and their families. Our interests include: advance care planning; end-of-life care and its impact on vulnerable individuals; nursing and midwifery ethics; feminist ethics; moral distress of health professionals. The work of the group has contributed to informing policy and practice, most recently to the Pandemic Ethics Advisory Group.
Aims & Objectives
To develop excellence in research related to the ethical challenges that arise in clinical practice, especially, in relation to the treatment and care of individuals who are dying and their families.
- To undertake research in end-of-life treatment and care that contributes to the improvement of individuals’, families’ and health workers’ experiences of death and dying
- To support the expansion and translation of research on end-of-life decision making and advance care planning to enable healthcare staff and family to deliver care consistent with the values and preferences of individuals at end of life
- To conduct research on the role of health professionals and carers in supporting vulnerable people e.g. with an intellectual disability and/or dementia at end of life
- To develop knowledge, educational and organisational interventions that support ethically and legally sound nursing and midwifery practices in hospital and community healthcare settings
- To collaborate locally, nationally and internationally in order to share knowledge, build interdisciplinary and global networks and advance the field of healthcare ethics and end-of-life care
Projects and Collaborations
The following are a sample of current research projects and collaborations undertaken by the Health Care Ethics and End-of-Life Care research team:
The Pandemics Ethics advisory group
The Pandemic Ethics Advisory Group (PEAG), was established by the Department of Health on the 19th March 2020 as an expert sub-group of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), to act as an ethics advisory body to government, policymakers and health service providers relating to COVID-19 preparedness and response. Dr. Joan McCarthy, Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC was invited on to this multidisciplinary group as an expert in healthcare ethics. The terms of reference, membership and activities of the Pandemic Ethics Advisory Group are available at:
Living Well with the Dead in Contemporary Ireland (Wellcome Small Grant in Humanities and Social Science)
Dr. Joan McCarthy is a collaborator and an active member of the research team on a university wide project which aims to develop a medical humanities network to research changing Irish social imaginaries of living well with the dead. Detailed information on this project is available at the following link: Living Well with the Dead in Contemporary Ireland
Evaluation of the Irish Hospice Foundation Design and Dignity Programme
Dr. Nicola Cornally (PI) in conjunction with a number of researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC, including Dr. Caroline Dalton undertook an evaluation of the Irish Hospice Foundation Design and Dignity Project. The Design & Dignity Programme was launched in 2010, in collaboration with the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and Health Service Executive (HSE). This programme funded the development of over 30 end of life care spaces for both patients and their families. This project was commissioned by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care in collaboration with the Irish Hospice Foundation. Detailed information on this project is available at the following link: Evaluation of the Irish Hospice Foundation Design
CONCORDAT (inCOrporatiNG ACP intO Routine COPR mAnagemenT) research group
Dr. Nicola Cornally is the lead researcher on the CONCORDAT. This project is a collaboration between University College Cork (UCC), Respiratory Medicine at Mercy University Hospital (MUH), Marymount University Hospital and Hospice, COPD Support Ireland, Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme St James' Hospital Dublin. The group was set up to address the knowledge and skill gap of HCPs regarding the palliative care needs of people with COPD with the support of a medical education grant from GSK Ireland. Detailed information on this project is available at the following link: Improving ACP for people with COPD
End-of-life care supports and decision-making practices in specialist intellectual disability residential services
Dr. Caroline Dalton recently completed her PhD which focused on End-of-life care supports and decision-making practices in specialist intellectual disability residential services. The study identified that people with an intellectual disability and their families should be included in end- of-life care at a much earlier stage than is currently the case. The supports required by people with an intellectual disability, their families and staff need to be made explicit to ensure the autonomy of people with an intellectual disability is protected and promoted when making end-of-life decisions. Detailed information on this study is available at the following link: https://cora.ucc.ie/handle/10468/9950
Providing Comfort Care at End of Life Webinar
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Caroline Dalton was instrumental in organising a webinar focused on providing comfort care at end of life for people with an intellectual disability. The webinar us undertaken in collaboration with the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), The Cope Foundation and the Office of Nursing and Midwifery Services Director (ONMSD) in the Health Service Executive (HSE). The webinar was presented by Geraldine O’Callaghan, Candidate Advance Nurse Practitioner at Cope Foundation and was facilitated by Dr Cathy Payne, AIIHPC. A link to this webinar is available here:http://www.professionalpalliativehub.com/covid-19/project-echo-aiihpc-webinars-intellectual-disability-services#1
Projects previously undertaken by the research team are available at the following link:
Areas of interest: nursing/midwifery/healthcare ethics; ethical issues at beginning and end-of-life; feminist ethics, moral distress of health professionals
Areas of interest: Dementia Palliative Care, Contemporary issues in End-of-Life Care, Pain Assessment and Management in Older Persons and Professional Development in Gerontological Nursing
Areas of interest: Human rights, healthcare ethics, End-of-Life Care, Advanced Care Planning and the impact these topics have on the lives of those with an intellectual disability, dementia and acquired brain injury and autism.
Dr Angela Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org
Areas of interest: Intersection of nursing and broader social scientific perspectives, the social determinants of health, health inequalities, social inclusion, cultural competency/safety in nursing, supporting vulnerable migrant students, solidarity, and historical genealogical research methods.
Dr Aoife Lane email@example.com
Areas of interest: Nursing management, education and practice development; nursing and midwifery planning and development; nursing theory and the realisation of its application to clinical practice.